Maternal physiological hypercholesterolemia (MPH) occurs during pregnancy to assure fetal development. Some pregnant women develop maternal supraphysiological hypercholesterolemia (MSPH) characterized by increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). We aim to determine if proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) levels (a protein that regulate the availability of LDL receptor in the cells surface), as well as the composition and function of LDL, are modulated in MSPH women. This study included 122 pregnant women. Maternal total cholesterol (TC), LDL, triglycerides and PCSK9 increased from first (T1) to third trimester (T3) in MPH women. At T3, maternal TC, LDL, PCSK9 and placental abundances of PCSK9 were significantly higher in MPSH compared to MPH. Circulating PCSK9 levels were correlated with LDL at T3. In MSPH women, the levels of lipid peroxidation and oxidized LDL were significantly higher compared to MPH. LDL isolated from MSPH women presented significantly higher triglycerides and ApoB but lower levels of ApoAI compared to MPH. The formation of conjugated dienes was earlier in LDL from MSPH and in endothelial cells incubated with these LDLs; the levels of reactive oxygen species were significantly higher compared to LDL from MPH. We conclude that increased maternal PCSK9 would contribute to the maternal elevated levels of pro-atherogenic LDL in MSPH, which could eventually be related to maternal vascular dysfunction.
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- Atherogenic profile
- Low-density lipoproteins